BG to vote to expand categories of discrimination

By Dick Berry - email

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) - A group called "Equality BG" is asking the Bowling Green City Council to pass two ordinances expanding the categories of discrimination.

Toledo already has it. The vote in Bowling Green is expected Monday night. It has turned into a real hot topic.

"One person being turned away because they're being discriminated against is one too many," says Larry Sorrells, Bowling Green City Council.

The 8:00 pm City Council meeting has been moved to the Simpson Building on Conneaut Avenue because more than 200 people are expected.

Discrimination based on race, color or creed is against the law in Bowling Green.

But members of the B.G. City Council will consider two ordinances expanding discrimination to other categories.

One ordinance expands B.G.'S Fair Housing Code. The other, policies of employment, education and public accommodation.

Among the groups protected: gays, transgenders, military personnel, pregnant women and people with HIV.

"This type of legislation, in a way, I think is a furthering of equality and progress of ideas. Whether Bowling Green really needs it or not? I can't say," says John Zanfardino, Bowling Green City Council.

"A person right now could be fired for being gay. There would be no recourse," says Sorrels. He goes on to say when council hearings were held on the ordinances they heard from discrimination victims. "They didn't say it was common, but there were instances of it occurring."

So how is a discrimination case resolved?

A complaint is filed with the Bowling Green City Administrator. He gets the two sides together and arbitrates the issue.

"It may be denied. Mostly likely not an acknowledgement but I think in either case, it would go away," says Zanfardino.

If approved, Bowling Green would join Toledo and 17 other municipalities in Ohio with an unlawful discrimination ordinance.

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